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Sunday Stealing: Interesting Confusions...

Hey there, guys and dolls! Welcome back to SSA. I've missed you! I'm hoping that by the end of November, we'll finally be in our forever home here on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

And I'm hoping that it will finally feel like home, not just our house.

Ya dig?

Keep your fingers crossed for us, you fine folks, will you?

As I'm sending good vibes to all of you as we work through fires and storms and COVID-19 and head into winter... <sigh>

Link up here to play along this weekend!


Stolen from various web sites...

1) Can you cry under water?

Crying Under Water - Akira & Anime Background Wallpapers on Desktop Nexus  (Image 1220268)

I'm not sure I could. Underwater = my happiest happy place.

2) What is the fattest thing you’ve ever done?

09072020 Chloë's 19th Birthday Cake

Admittedly, I don't entirely understand the intent of this question, but...

Oh, I definitely have a sweet tooth, so I have had trouble cutting out the sweets since they became a big problem for me. The worst is when any of us have a birthday. Rob likes a plain, unfrosted chocolate cake for his birthdays, but most of the rest of us like Carvel ice cream cakes for ours. Since Chloë's birthday is the 7th of September, and mine is the 8th, we often have... kind of a lot of it. I get sick on it every time, but does it stop me??

3) If you’re going to be arrested, what do you want your crime to be?

Anglican priest chains herself to a tree in protest of Trans Mountain  pipeline expansion in Burnaby | Delta Optimist

I've never been arrested, but I admit, I've sort of half-jokingly put it on my Bucket List. If it happens, I want it to be for some kind of protest, whether it be political or, preferably, an environmental cause.

4) When they say dog food is “new and improved” who tastes it?

How to Keep Your Dog From Eating Cat Food | AvoDerm Natural

Well, first of all, I've always had issues with that phrase, "new and improved." If it's new, then what could have been improved upon if it didn't exist before? If it's improved, then it's something old they made better, so how could it be new? 

Anyway. I figure, if they're going to find out if dog food is better, they'd better ask the experts: dogs!

5) What’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen?

Top Ten Evil Stepmothers - IGN

My stepmother was always sarcastic, always sneering, in this unique way that I've only ever seen one other person in my life do. Very much like Cinderella's evil stepmother, here. It was an awful expression that could drain the blood from my face in an instant, because I knew that whatever was coming next would be worse than whatever led up to that point. I don't miss that b**ch.

6.) Why doesn’t glue stick to its bottle?

An Investigation of Polymers

So there you go!

7) What historical event do you wish you’d witnessed?

Kerri Strug GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Oh my gosh, there are so many things I could have thought of, but the first one I thought of was the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when Kerry Strug did her vault with a broken ankle. That whole Dream Team was amazing. I would love, love, love to attend the Olympics some day!

8) Who has had the best influence on your life?

50 Husband quotes: I Love My Husband Quotes Girlterest – Part 22 Best  Quotes Love – BestQuotes

I've thunk hard on it, and I keep returning to the one inevitable answer: my husband. No one else in this world has made me look inside myself and really try to be better for someone else and not just for my own sake.

9) Would you rather go into space or to Antarctica?

Assassins can fly — Fly me to the moon 🌙 gifs made by me :)

Space! Although I'd always accept a trip anywhere, almost anytime - pandemics excluded.

10) Would you rather sleep with no pillow or no blankets?

Amazon.com: I Am Crazy I Love Crazy Pillow Cases Pillowcase Couples Gift  Bedding Present Funny: Kitchen & Dining

I'd rather live without the pillow. I don't care how hot I am, I need to have certain portions of me covered with a blanket - and I can always use part of it for a pillow!

11) What's your favorite rain memory?

0612011 Sophia's 6th birthday party

Oh, whenever it rained in the summers in Virginia Beach, when Sophia was two, three, four, five years old... we would go out and jump in the puddles! That little bitty was so excited and happy when she was jumping up and down in those puddles. She was just the the picture of pure joy.

12) If you were elected president, what is the first thing you would do?

First thing I would do is declare a moratorium on fossil fuels. No more coal mines, fracking, oil drilling, none of that. Our reliance on fossil fuels has long overstayed its welcome, and it's killing all of us. That shit's got to end.

13) If you had $3 to spend in the dollar store, what would you buy?

TOP 5 Things to Always Purchase at Dollar Tree!

If I have an occasion like a birthday, the supplies there can't be beat for a buck! Ribbons, tissue paper, gift bag? Done!

14) What’s the most annoying sound in the world?

If You Hate The Sound Of People Chewing, Then You're Probably A Genius |  Prodinr

I can't stand to hear other people chewing and smacking their lips while they're eating. I have to tell my son to stop doing it constantly. Drives me crazy!

15) What natural disaster scares you the most?

Think 2020′s disasters are wild? Experts say the worst is yet to come

Fire. We had a fire in the house I grew up in, and I still have scars on my legs from that. I've lived through that, tropical storms and hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, a supertyphoon... but nothing scares me like fire. I don't want to die that way.


On that pleasant thought...! I've got some work to do for this nonprofit project I'm working on, and then make a list for some shopping. Maybe I'll even get some knitting accomplished. Not necessarily in that order.

Cheers to all of you and let's hope no one's in any natural disasters today!



Sunday Stealing: Swimming Upstream

For this week's thievery, Bev went to Upstreamlife to get our questions asked and answered. Looks like fun!

Join us, won't you? And when you do, link up here.


1) Name 5 people you admire and why:

Jimmy Carter hospitalized after fall at Georgia home

Jimmy Carter - for as old as he is and how often he gets himself badly injured, he's a tremendous humanitarian. More of us should be like Jimmy.

Michelle Obama Covers Vogue | Michelle obama fashion, Michelle obama,  Fashion

Michelle Obama - She and President Obama endured relentless criticism throughout their eight years in the White House, but she was always poised and full of grace. She's a gorgeous woman inside and out, she don't take no shit from anybody, and her messages have always been uplifting and positive. And she's not done yet!

His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV 85th birthday: Teachings to find inner  strength and happiness - art and culture - Hindustan Times

The Dalai Lama - His messages of compassion for all others in humanity are inspiring millions, and hopefully it's catching!

Who are Bill Gates' kids? | Fox Business

Bill Gates - who, along with his wife Melinda, is doing amazing philanthropic works for global health and development with their foundation. I'm endlessly impressed.

The Fine Line: What Makes Simone Biles the Worlds Best Gymnast simonebiles newyorktimes simone biles gymnastics gymnast video from The New York Times nyti.ms/2aE5vRW GIF

Simone Biles - She's been through so many things in her life, and yet she continues to push herself further to be the best gymnast in the entire world. And her athletic ability is astounding.

2. When was the last time you did something adventurous?

Well, we're about to do something adventurous. We're going to pack up our stuff here in our amazing house in southern Idaho, list it and sell it, fly across the country to Maryland, and buy a new house where, hopefully, we'll live more than 13 months this time! I've got my eye on this beauty right now. It's amazing.

3. You felt you got older when _______

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

...I got Lyme disease. Here I am six years ago, with my best friend Lisa, at our 20th high school reunion. This was days before I got my tick bite. Now, I feel like I'm 90 years old, and my life has changed drastically. It's hellish, to be honest.

4. What one thing that could happen today would make you extremely happy?

Lyme disease symptoms: How to know if you have Lyme disease - Business  Insider

If I had a complete cure and total reversal of everything Lyme-related, I'd be positively ecstatic.

5. An experience you don’t want to go through again:

Child death | Grief

I would not like to live through the loss of a child again. Not in a million years.

6. One decision you made that changed your life completely:

Random And Hilarious Personal Ads | Fun

WTH?!!!  😂😂😂

I made the decision to listen to a friend and finally put a dating ad on a matching site. I didn't really want to do it, though, so I made sort of a joke listing: in my description, I listed all of my faults. It was a long list! Rob read it and found it hilarious, and here we are, planning our 20th wedding anniversary!

7. How do you participate in saving the earth?

Ways Your Family Can Help Save the Earth | Greenwich, CT Patch

I honestly try to do as much as I can. If you look on the right side of this blog screen, scrolling down, you'll see a number of different organizations I participate in, am a member of, and financially support when I can. I am insanely conscious of the products and materials I use and whether they can be reused, donated, recycled even if they need to be broken down into separate parts, composted, and so on. I'm very diligent about learning everything I can to do more. I know so many people aren't doing their part at all, so I feel like it's incumbent upon me to do extra. I eat mostly vegan whenever I can, and I read ingredients so that I can avoid the ones (like palm oil) that are so harmful and destructive to our global environment and which contribute greatly to ecosystem destruction. I buy organic, and/or local, and/or fair trade, etc., whenever this option is available and affordable at the time. I keep a card in my purse so when I'm at the seafood counter, I can correctly buy this fish that's supposed to be farm-raised and that fish that's supposed to be wild-caught, and leave the ones I shouldn't buy alone  entirely. I'm constantly researching how we can modify our home(s) to be more eco-friendly. I'm very outspoken in public and in private about this issue. And so on and so forth. (Hey, you asked!)

8. A gift you would like to get on your next birthday?

Very Demotivational - thoughtful gift - Very Demotivational Posters - Start  Your Day Wrong - Demotivational Posters | Very Demotivational | Funny  Pictures | Funny Posters | Funny Meme - Cheezburger

I'll be 44 in September. It's not a huge milestone. But it's the first birthday since my daughter Chloë was born that we've spent it apart from each other. (She'll be 19 the day before my birthday.) She's going to stay behind here in Idaho, and we're moving to Maryland quite soon. To be perfectly honest, I'm not handling that well at all, and the birthdays are going to be so difficult for me. I already know. So I'd love some time with my kid.

9. Things you miss about your childhood?

People always say that they want to go back to their childhood..because it  was easier. Not me...my childhood sucked...Ive never had my innocence...if  I could have one thing...I would want my innocence

I don't.

10. The greatest invention:

People Voted for The Mankind's Greatest Invention? | Bar Chart Race |  Shubotube - YouTube

There are a lot of great inventions listed here, but I think I'm going to go with music. Music can tap deeply into our emotions and make us feel. It brings us joy and empathizes with our pain. All the other things may make life easier, but music makes it worth living.

11. Your favorite super hero:

How The Superman Comics Just Paid Tribute To The Christopher Reeve Movie -  CINEMABLEND

I've always loved Superman. But not just any Superman. Christopher Reeve as Superman. I was so devastated when he was injured.

12. Your views about veganism:

Mercy For Animals Shows How Vegan Diet Saves Animals and The Environment -  Helping Abused Animals

Don't get me started! I've already addressed that a little bit above, but I will just say: I'm totally for it!

13. If you could be anything else in the world, what would you be?

Beautiful Butterfly

I think I would be a beautiful butterfly.

14. How did your parents meet?

Dating or Waiting?. - ppt video online download

Ironically, my  parents also met via a dating match-up service, but in 1970. They met thirty years earlier than my husband I met on the online dating site. 

15. Your morning routine:

70 Most Awesome Sleep Memes

Now that I know my mono was reactivated, this makes much more sense. So me!


All right, y'all. You have lovely weeks and, if I don't see you for a while,  it's because we're moving. Wish us faith, trust, and pixie dust!


Sunday Stealing: The Ask Game

Hey, everyone. I missed Saturday 9, because I was weak and tired and in bed all day, but maybe I'll add it to the end of this post just to add in the fun. ;) It's 2:57 AM on Sunday now, so we'll have to see if the little bit of energy I have holds out 'til then. I hope y'all are well!

Let's begin:


Do you have a passion project? What is it?

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Well, we've kind of stepped back from our candle business a slight bit, now that the holiday season rush is over, but I guess kinda-sorta still that. When my newborn son died in 2003 - Robby, who was the identical twin of our Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome survivor, Jack - I started a nonprofit to knit and crochet layettes (blankets, booties, hats, and a gown or sweater) to give to other bereaved parents experiencing infant loss. Our charity, CARE Package, Inc., received handmade donations from all over the US, and sometimes international donations came in, too. After about 7 years, I wound down the charity to concentrate on other things; namely, homeschooling Chloë, Jack, and Sophia. We're still doing that; I'd love to be knitting all the time still, but my body is rebelling, and I just can't.

How many languages can you speak? 

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I speak Spanish, although I'm not quite fluent, and I'm learning Latin with my girls this year. I speak bits and pieces of several other languages, including French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese... and I'm forgetting some.

What was the last book you read?

Image result for recipes for repair

I'm still into Recipes for Repair, which promises to help those who have Lyme Disease. I'm not far into it yet, so I'm hoping it will do what it says it will!

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

Image result for Great Barrier Reef

Hands down, I want to visit the Great Barrier Reef the most. I just hope it's not too late, by the time I can get there!

Top 5 fictional characters?

Image result for Katniss and Peeta

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, Caesar Flickerman, Effie Trinket, and Haymitch Abernathy - all right, I admit I have a bit of a love for The Hunger Games series!

Something you miss from your childhood?

Image result for I miss my grandparents

I miss my grandparents something awful! They were among the very few good things about my childhood - no, they were the best!

(P.S. It's 6:25 AM now, and I just woke up. Again. So much for my energy holding out!)

What skill do you wish you had?

Image result for singer belting it out gif

I wish I could really belt it out when I sing. I mean, I can sing well, carry a tune, and all that, but I don't have a lot of power behind my voice. Maybe from being sick a lot as a kid, but I just don't have a voice that can carry to the back of an auditorium without a microphone, y'know? Beyond that, I wish I were an incredible gymnast!

Tell us an interesting fact.

Image result for great white shark in tonic immobility

I don't know if you meant about me or not, but my head immediately goes to sharks - still! Like many animals (Hubs likes doing it to our dogs and cats), sharks - even Great Whites! - will go into a state called "tonic immobility" if you turn them upside down. They are vulnerable and helpless in this state. As they age and grow, they move up to the top of the food chain, just below Orcas and the greatest enemy of all animals: mankind. Some Orcas have developed an ability to put these adult Great Whites into tonic immobility, so that they can feast on only their highly-nutritious livers.

What was your favorite subject in school?

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All sciences, of course, but since I am a biologist, it's gotta be Biology. But I loved school. All school. Even Social Studies... although, I did not and do not like learning about war.

Favorite planet?

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Big, beautiful Jupiter, with it's giant red spot and dozens of moons...

Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

Related image

Mahatma Gandhi, because with his peaceful protests and non-violent resistance, he was on the forefront of changing prejudicial and unjust laws without military might. I admire that.

Favorite mythical creature?

Image result for gorgeous mermaid gif

I love mermaids. In fact, I even admitted in my article on LinkedIn that I think I was one in a past life! ;)

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

Image result for funny conspiracy theories


What is your favorite word?

Image result for Fuck!

That one. Oh, I thought for some reason you said favorite curse word. hahaha! I really did. Well, maybe for me it's the same? Even though I have an extensive vocabulary, I do find the word f*ck so very useful.

Do you have any obsessions right now?

Image result for bobs burgers gif

Yeah. I'm obsessed with Bob's Burgers, and I've got it on my DVR so I can catch up on as many past episodes as possible. If you're not watching, and you like to laugh, you should totally start.

Do you play any instruments?

Related image

I play a mean harmonica! I took lessons playing the organ my mom played and can do a little keyboarding/piano still, but not much. I'm just horrible at sight-reading music; it doesn't come naturally to me.

What’s your worst habit?

Image result for staying up until i'm exhausted

I stay up long past the state of exhaustion and then can't bring myself to bed. When I eventually do get to bed, I'm so tired I can't get up when it's time. I completely collapse. This habit started in college, where I quickly learned that you either got great grades - or you slept. Now that I have this capricious illness that lets my body either slightly function or not function at all, I take those functional days and don't want to let them goooooo!

Do you have a collection of anything?

Related image

I have a pretty big shot glass collection from all over. I also collect magnets. I have part of my grandmother's spoon collection and part of my mother-in-law's spoon collection, which I love. I used to collect interesting keychains from my travels, too, but I've stopped now that I see how useless they were to me. Just heavy!

What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

Image result for University of South Florida logo

That would probably be "what if" I hadn't abruptly quit my Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida and, instead of taking a little time off to think about my goals in life, eloped with a guy I'd just met off the Interwebs and then quickly found myself pregnant with our first little girl... What if that hadn't all transpired? But it doesn't matter to me to think about these things, because there is nothing I would change about what I did do!

What is your favorite fairy tale?

Related image

Is it any wonder that The Little Mermaid is my favorite fairy tale - Disney-fied or not?!

Have you ever dyed your hair? Is there a color you’d like to dye it?


I have dyed my hair black (once), and I have died it various shades of auburn for years and years... but right now it's undyed. Now I'm seeing all kinds of gray - no, actually, they're pretty shiny silver - but I call them "extra blonde" hairs, even in my eyebrows and lashes!, and I am not really loving it. I'm trying to decide whether and what to dye it next. This, in the foto, is my younger daughter, Sophia. She has just died her naturally-blonde hair this interesting shade of blue. I love it! She has also dyed it turquoise and fuschia in the past. I wish I had her guts!

If you could learn one language overnight, which would you choose?

Related image

Italian. In a heartbeat. So I could go live there and eat my way through the country. You know, in a vegan way, so... cucina povera-style.

What’s the most useless thing you know how to do?

Image result for useless talent

I can think of a lot of things I can do, but I can't think of any I would term 'useless'! Even cooking meat- and dairy-based dishes is useful to me now, in vegan cooking, because I can take what I have learned and transform my favorite recipes (and new ones!) into something vegan. So... I don't know?

What’s the most important change that should be made to your country’s education system?

Image result for changes to US education system

(First of all, look at this graph. It makes me proud of my origin state, New York, because they know what's up! It does make me sad for many of the other states. I have lived around the country enough to know that spending dollars = higher achievement for students. So c'mon, United States! Get with the damn program, already!) Anyway, the most important change I think the US needs to make for the educational system is to PAY EDUCATORS MORE! I think there is fear that if we grant educators a higher salary, we'll be stuck paying higher wages to the same (and I'm absolutely not saying that all current educators are) mediocre teachers. I know the exact opposite will happen. The good teachers, the ones who care and bring knowledge of how to reach our kids, are getting burnt-out and leaving the profession for, often, something that pays more. Mediocrity is what gets left behind. A higher wage will attract better teachers who are able to provide our students with a more robust education. It will. There is no doubt. It just needs to happen. (And we need to get rid of the idiotic Betsy DeVos!)


That was interesting. And long for me. Hopefully it made sense, since my pain and fatigue levels are off the charts! Ugh.

Have a great week, y'all.


Sunday Stealing: If You Could Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

From Sweet Memes, our friend CAT!:


Travel anywhere, where would it be? 

It's a Bucket List item to SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

 Meet anyone, who would it be? 

I was going to say something silly, like my crushes Matt Damon or Ed Sheeran, but then I decided to go a little more cerebral since I'm not even remotely in a silly mood. I'm going with Einstein.

 Bring anyone dead back to life, who would it be? 

If I were being entirely selfish, I'd ask if I could pick two people who were taken far too early:  my beautiful mother, who lived just 33 years, and my darling son, who lived just 3 days. But I try not to be entirely selfish, and so I will pick my son. My reasons are multiple, but partly, I would choose Robby so that his identical twin brother, Jack, who survived their traumatic birth, would have his womb-mate and the kiddo who should be his best friend in life, his partner in crime, his other half. You're right, Jack; it's NOT fair.

(And if you, reader, try and tell me that "everything happens for a reason," I will hunt you down and kick you in bits that will make you cry the ugly cry. Because not everything does. Some things just freaking happen.)

 Be anyone for a day, who would it be? 

Well, or Queen of the Universe, or something. I'd globally mandate and/or outlaw a few things. Recycling, which should be a damn given in the year 2014, would be required for every possible thing that can be recycled. Smoking would be outlawed. Priorities would shift. Real things would matter. None of this "oh, let's not let two people who love each other get married when children are going hungry and global warming is happening" bullshit.

(Sorry, guys, I'm not in a fluffy kitten and rainbows and unicorns mood.)

 Get anything for free for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Yarn. I pick yarn. Okay, maybe there's still a little frivolity left in my spirit today, after all. But not just any old ugly, cheap yarn. Handspun, hand-painted, beautifully soft, natural yarns.

 Change one thing about your life what would it be? 

Hopefully this will be us in 2.5 years: sailing on the open ocean, to destinations varied and far, seeing the world, having amazing experiences, teaching the kids real-life stuff. Maybe it's a pipe dream, maybe it'll happen... time will tell.

 Have any superpower what would it be? 

I still dream all the time that I can fly. I would give anything - almost - to do it for real.

 Be any animal for a day which would you be? 

I'd be a beautiful parrotfish, colorful and interesting, buoyant and free... my favorite of reef fishes.

 Date anyone who would it be? 

I'd date this guy: my husband. But, I'd like him to be the guy before brain surgery, before the brain tumor, before Cyberknife made him a whole 'nother person. Can I have my husband back, please?!!

 Change one thing about the world what would it be? 

I would make it so that no one cared about what other people looked like on the outside; people would see past that - or never see it at all - to the beauty that lies within each and every one of us.

 Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? 

Not that I truly think heaven is "fictional," but I would go there. 

 Eliminate one of your human needs; which would you get rid of? 

Not to get too gross, because I have a million and one fun things I could say about it, but I would eliminate elimination.

 Change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? 

Okay, that's beyond beyond, but I would get rid of all the extra skin from dropping 200 pounds in the blink of an eye. It's... yuckish.

 Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? 

I would turn my boundless insecurity into (merited) confidence.

 Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? 

In my mind, I'm secretly an amazing gymnast. In reality, I'm the biggest klutz ever.

 Forget one event in your life which would you choose? 

I'd erase the the years from the time my mom died, when I was 7, until I graduated high school and went to college, when I was 17. Those ten years of my childhood, well, they really fucked me up.

 Erase an event from history (make it so it never happened) which would you choose? 

I'd erase the assassination of MLK, Jr., because I feel that he had a whole lot more to offer this country - no, this world.

 Have any hair/eye/skin color, which would you choose? 

I wouldn't change a thing.

 Be any weight/body type, which would you choose?

 I'd choose to be happy the way I am.

 Live in any country/city, where would you choose? 

I've always wanted to spend a year of my life living in New York City.

 Change one law in your country, which would you change? 

Come on, now.

 Be any height, which would you choose?  

I'm happy at 5'2".

Have any job in the world, which would you choose? 

I was going to join the Peace Corps before I started my Ph.D., but I couldn't go for various (financial and medical) reasons at the time. I'd still like to do that someday.

 Have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be? 

It's the end of the month, two days before payday, and we've just run out of milk for the kidoodles. A wad of cash showing up in my pocket would be nice right now.

 Have anyone beside you right now, who would it be?


I'm pretty fortunate, because I'd still choose Hubs, and guess what? There he is. ---->

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if you've got bits and pieces to string together for Mrs. 4444 and the gang tonight!


It's certainly been an up-and-down week for us here at Chez Odette, but I'd like to start off this post with one major announcement:

After SIX (originally typed "SUX," which would also have been appropriate!) WEEKS, THE LICE ARE GONE, THE LICE ARE GONE, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, THE LICE ARE GONE!!!!

Now, I had to totally chop off ALL of Chloe's long, luscious curls to do it, but desperate times call for desperate measures, y'know? Thankfully, her hair grows back wicked fast, like her dad's and Jack's. It'll be back before we know it.



Two weeks ago, my CPU died. We replaced it. Last week, my monitor died. Can't afford to replace that, too, just yet... UGH! I'm stuck using the laptop. I hate laptops. Can't say why; I just do.

Plus, this one doesn't have a number pad, which is why I can't do my special ALT characters. Bah.



(SPOILER ALERT if you haven't seen the Olympics yet tonight)

Gabby Douglas, Virginia Native who trained at Excalibur, where Chloe will start next month in rhythmic gymnastics after a switch from another gym that doesn't offer rhythmic, won All-Around Gold tonight! The first African-American to do so. I'm SO super proud of her and her teammates! USA, USA, USA!!!



My boys, Hubs and Son, are at Webelos (Cub Scouts) camp all week. They were supposed to get there on Sunday, but we messed up and thought it was supposed to be Monday. On Monday, we didn't get paid, like we thought we would, and so they still couldn't go until Tuesday. Suck! But the main point is, I miss them so much!!! I can't WAIT to pick them up tomorrow (today) morning and hear all about their adventures!



My dad and I had a major falling out several months ago. I mean, MAJOR. I thought we'd never speak again.  We've made a lot of progress through emails, however, and finally, I called him on his 70th birthday on Tuesday. There was no awkwardness whatsoever, which was a huge relief to me. I don't do confrontation - especially with my father - well at all, and there just wasn't any. Very anti-climactic, and I'm glad for it.



Today, my toilet overflowed all OVER the bathroom, and indeed, it still IS. I cannot seem to plunge that da*n low-flow piece of crap for the life of me, and so it waits until Rob gets home from camp tomorrow. Not a fun time. To top things off, I broke a jelly jar pulling something else out of the fridge tonight, got glass lodged in my foot, and can't find the foxtail and dustpan anywhere. So that mess will be waiting for Rob, too. Unless I can find some paper towels somewhere... and yes, I'll put on some shoes. Oy.



I had multiple sales in my Etsy shop, I was commissioned to do knitting for another WAHM's Waldorf-inspired mini-dolls, my blog post about Virginia Beach was featured on a national travel blog, and I was invited to submit a chapter in a textbook. I'm not sure I'll do that last one - who has the time?! - but I might give it a go. Either way, cool. I do want to write my own book at some point, so it would be good practice if I did it.



My wrist, which I unwittingly somehow injured at the end of May, is still not even remotely healed. I think there is nerve damage, since the fracture we thought was there seems not to be, judging from later x-rays.  I'm in a hella lot of pain, and I refuse to take pain medication on an ongoing basis for it.  Back to the doc I go, I guess...



I had a LOT of me-time this week, with the boys away and my friend Saritah taking the girls along with her kids to Vacation Bible School - up to four hours a night! SWEET. I took advantage of it, because my migraines have been plaguing me lately, and did a whole lotta nothin'. That's difficult for me to do, but between the wrist and the brain-pain, not so hard at the mome.


Guess that's all I feel like jabbering about for the time being, though I feel I could go on for another half-hour or more!  I'm going to try REALLY hard and visit other Fragmenters this weekend; a rarity for me with all the chaos our lifestyle brings.


Take it easy, peeps, and, you know, stay away from Chick-Fil-A and stuff... ;)




Link up here if you've got questions for Kailani and crew today!

My question for you this week is:

Does it move you that the first African-American gymnast just won all-around gold for the USA, or could you not care less about her race? Were you rooting for Gabby Douglas (a Virginia Beach native who, by the way, formerly trained at the gym where my older daughter will be training starting next month!) to take gold?

You can probably guess my answers, but yes, I was on my feet, cheering, clapping and whooping it up for Gabby D. I'm SO super proud of her, and thrilled that a young black woman accomplished a feat that will inspire many young female athletes in the years to come! GO GABBY!

Have a great weekend!


Good Things Of The Many (And The Mail)

Okay, so the mail has brought in packages lately that are of major delightfulness, so the stars of them have been photographed and are ready to share. I've been a busy little bee lately, so I have't had a chance to edit them 'til now. Wanna hear about it? And see some pictorial evidence? Awesome. Read on, then, ye three followers of me.


I totally stink at keeping presents from their recipients when I'm excited about giving them, so I've been, uh, kind of giving the kids the Christmas presents I swore I wasn't going to get (because we're doing Great Wolf Lodge again this year and, you know, I wanted to make it about memories and not stuff and all...), but since I have gotten them, and since, well, they were there when I opened this box from Disney, I couldn't really not gi-- oh, I'll just stop babbling and say that I got a kick-butt deal on these fleece blankets, with free shipping and personalization of their names, to boot! Jack got a Cars-themed one, Chloë's is Cinderella, and Sophia's was Tinkerbell. They LOVED them and carry them around all. the. time. WIN!


Mamacita, which is what MIL and I have decided I shall call her (after 10½ years or so) henceforth, sends us Hallmark Christmas ornaments each year. We have an awesome collection of them, thanks to her. This year's package arrived last week, so we all gathered 'round to see what she chose for us this time. Jack always gets a Santa in some sort of transportation, which thrills him to no end, and this year it was hot air balloon. So cute!



I will say two things: these pictures were taken in my cluttered, messy office-slash-craft room, but my excuse is that things are ALWAYS happening in here, so cut me some slack, will ya? And also, I did a poor job of focusing on the ornaments in several of these photos, but I didn't realize that until today, so since they're already put up in the attic until we set up the tree, I can't fix that. My bad.  Chloë usually gets one to do with the year or her age, ever since birth, and she loves her little snowman guy!


Sophia's was, appropriately, a gymnast - with her name on it!! Love it!! Also, the tiaras the girls are wearing in these two pictures are from the same Grandma package, which is why they're wearing them here. They light up, too!


This one appears to have been handmade, but if there was a note about that, I missed it. Mamacita? I'm guessing it's from the childhood of Rob, at least, since we've gotten a few of those in the past as well. Isn't it cute?


Rob's an angler of great enthusiasm, so he's gotten lots of fishing-related ones over the years from his mama. Too bad the expression on his face took precedence over the ornament, because it's The Awesome. So many of these ornaments have such great detail, and this one is no exception!


Ditto the above, about his (hehe) expression and the clarity of the ornament. Boo, me. He always gets a Navy/military/patriotic-themed one, since he's been in the US Navy for about 18½ years, so this year he got a flagged-out Santy Claus.


I love, love, love, love, LOVE the ornaments Mamacita chose for me - not this year, but every year - because she puts such great thought into them (well, everyone's, not just mine, but you know what I meant, right?). IMHO, I saved the best for last, because look! Apropos of the baking business I started this year (which is on hiatus for the time being, although I'm starting to reconsider that idear), I received a Christmas-themed cupcake ornie. Sweet! (Heh. Sorry, pun-haters.)


Also, since we homeschool, Mamacita gave me this "World Class Teacher" one, with a laptop on the, well, top. I adore this!! So very cool. Thanks, Mom/Grandma, for the wonderful additions to this year's tree!


But that's not all that was in the box. There were a few things I forgot to photo, like the Thanksgiving tablecloth and napkins we put away already, but not this train set for Jack! He immediately opened it and started choo-chooing it all around the office and living room:


(Again, 'scuse my mess!)


Oh! This guy was in the box, too! He'll grace our table this Thursday. Mama-jamma, did you make this?


Oops, speaking of trains, this mini-set of ornaments (or should I say set of mini-ornaments? Yes, pretend I did) was included also, for the whole family's enjoyment. Isn't it darling? Maybe it'll go on the fireplace this year, all set up. Of course, Jack thought it was just for him, since he and his gram share a love of all things train.



I got this fabu book of recipes in the box, and don't you think I should make that gingerbread house? I've never made one, but I want to and think about it every single year. This might just be the one. We shall see, we shall see.


And last, but certainly not least, the kids received another one of these recordable books from Grandma, in which she reads the story aloud to them. This year, it's Under The Same Moon.


Sophia immediately sat down to enjoy the book, but the other kids, who had already danced away to other adventures downstairs, heard it and clamored for share-age. So she traipsed on down there, where they all sat around the book and listened to it approximately 18 times. And no, I'm not exaggerating. For once. They love these books from Grandma.

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My dad sent a small package of trinkets and things for the kids and us, but I only managed to get this one of Sophie with the toy maze things - you know the ones? - she opted to get. She also chose the mini-Bible he sent, which the girls have sat down together to read on several occasions since then. Isn't that lovely?


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I got a package I ordered from Old Navy, but it didn't contain the Christmas outfits I bought, so boo. They better come soon, because they're awesome. I mean, so we can take our holiday card photos ASAP, y'know?? Anway, there were a bunch of shirts I got myself on clearance, as well as four fleece hoodies for the girls, in this package. The lady-babies insisted on trying them on straight away, which is the sole reason I took their picture. Plus, they're cute, are they not?

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And these are the other two. No, I didn't pose the girls; they linked arms of their own volition. ♥ Yes, Sophia is now taller than her sister, who is 3½ years older, which Chloë definitely does not appreciate. Sorry, darling.

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Okay, so technically these three sundaes I made for the chirren didn't come in the mail, but the ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped cream did get delivered by Oberweis, so I'm including them in this post. Can you stand it? They look so good, I want to make (them?) some more right this minute!


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Okay, so I made one for myself, too. I got about five bites in before I passed it to Rob - not because it wasn't delicious, because it was, as is every-dang-thing we have gotten from Oberweis. I didn't want to overdo it, though, because I have such a grumpy pouch!

And that is all. I have to go break up an argument. Oy.


She's An American Girl

This past weekend, for her tenth (!!) birthday celebration, Chloë I took the train up to Washington, D.C., to have some fun at the new(ish) American Girl store there. She didn't have an American Girl doll before, so the whole point was to pick one out and, for me, to enhance the experience for her in whatever way I could.

I'll post about the two days in two separate posts, because both promise to be quite lengthy - and you know me, I simply cannot make a long story short!


Here's Chloë on the train, shortly after we boarded in Newport News around 0800. My reasons for doing the train instead of driving were three-fold: (1) To save money on gas and parking to and in DC, (2) to leave the van so Rob and the kids could get around in our absence, and (3) for the fun of it! I love riding the train. Chloë has ridden the DC Metro and the NYC Subway system before, but this, I believe, was her first "real" train experience. She loved it, although halfway or so into the four-plus-hour sojourn, she was quite bored, as she'd forgotten her current book (which she's already read at least twice, and which makes her cry every time because it reminds her of losing Robby, sweet thing). (At least I had my iPhone! So she played on that while I snoozed a little.)


The Instagram pic I posted of her to Facebook - love that app!


Finally, we arrived at Union Station in DC, almost an hour later than expected. I had planned to go right to our hotel, check in and drop off our luggage before heading to the American Girl store in McLean, VA, but we had lunch reservations that we were going to miss if we didn't go straight there. So here's Miss Curls waiting for the first Metro train of the day, once we figured out where in the h-e-double hockey sticks we were supposed to be!

{By the by, if her face looks a little 'odd' to you, it is. The left side (right for you; the one with the scratch on her cheek) is swollen, thanks to a booboo from her dental appliance. Fortunately, she has an appointment on the books tomorrow anyway, so we can get that looked at.}


And again, the obligatory Instagram "check-in" Facebook photo


Here she is, as her Grandma said, looking "10 going on 14" as we waited for subway train #2 in our trek to the mall. After that, we took the bus. With all our luggage and stuff. Oy.


Finally, we made it to the mall!! She was so excited, and I was, too, for her. She made me photograph this first sign we spotted inside the mall, indicating our destination...


...and this banner, too. Excitement was mounting with every step closer to the store.


Finally, we arrived where she's been waiting years to go: the American Girl store. And folks, let me tell you what: this place is an absolute EXPLOSION of pink. Pink, pink, pink. Pink everywhere. (Read: Don't take your total tomboy daughters to this place. It wouldn't do.)

Now, by then, I was a little frustrated and upset (for her sake), because I'd spent over a month trying to get in contact with their personal shopper for an appointment for Chloë, and also because we missed our lunch reservations by about 45 minutes thanks to public transit. So the first thing I did was look for a manager, explain the situation, and ask her for help in making the whole event a positive one for my baby. Who is no longer a baby, but so what? Ten. Sheesh.

The manager, Doris, was fantastic. She marched us right up to the Bistro, where we'd missed our reservations, and got us a table immediately. She left us there with instructions that we were to find her afterward, so that she could connect us with the Personal Shopper. She was going to take care of us. That much was clear. And I was so relieved.


Since she hadn't gotten her own American Girl (AG) doll yet, Chloë was able to pick out a "loaner" doll from a wall of them sitting near the front of the Bistro, along with a chair that clipped directly to the table next to her. She really enjoyed that. Silliness, but hey. We decided to call the loaner doll "Sarah."


She pored over the menu, in which we were each supposed to find a starter and an entrée, according to their pricing plan. Look at that cheek! Tsk, tsk.


She was going to have milk with her meal, and then I showed her the beverage menu that was available and said she could pick off that if she wanted. This is not a posed expression; she really did that. Hee!


Curls and the menu, of which she wanted a picture. Pink, pink, pink!


Even though "Sarah" was only a loaner, she was still giddy with excitement over eating with her. It was her first hands-on experience with AG dolls, and she kept pulling her out of the chair to explore her, and posing with her for more pictures. She was loving this and informed me multiple times that, "This is even better than I imagined it would be!" Win!


When our drinks were brought, Sarah got her own cup, too. Chlo thought that was so cute, of course.


The centerpiece - more pink!


Chloë insisted I come look at the bakery case while we waited for our food. She was beside herself about there being "mini" things for everything for the AG dolls, including each dessert!


Her starter plate consisted of fruit kebabs, berries, and muffins for dipping into strawberry yogurt. She stuffed herself on this, except for the muffins, which she took home with her.


I had the cheddar cheese fondue, which was better than I'd expected. (You say "fondue" and I'm there, pretty much.) I filled up on bread and cheese. The two of us could've just done the starters and been happy, but their menu doesn't work like that.


Lunch was spaghetti and meatballs, but she took two bites and decided she couldn't pack in another morsel. I felt her pain. She had this for dinner later, instead.


I had a turkey panini, which I tasted to discover it was really good, but I also couldn't eat another bite. I ate mine the next day, for lunch and for dinner on the train ride home.


Eventually, our excellent server, Emmanuel, and some of the other staff came out with her desserts and sang happy birthday to her, after announcing her name and age to the whole restaurant. I noticed some other guests singing, too. It was fun.


Of course, she loved that part!


And look what they brought her! FIVE desserts! She ate the top off the two cupcakes and brought the rest home for Jack and Sophia to enjoy.


One last, lovely pose with Sarah at the end of the meal


Chloë insisted on filling out the comment card herself, which tickled me enormously. How grown up is she? Goodness.


We looked around at the dolls with a culture and history background story for a little while, before deciding to go find the Personal Shopper who was going to assist her with her purchases. Here's a little photo op with Kanani, who is obviously the Hawaiian AG.


She enjoyed showing me the different beds and pets and things that could be had for her doll-to-be, though she knew we had a budget to stick to.


Here, she's found Ginger, the little kitten she eventually wants to get for a pet for her doll. Maybe for Christmas?


Finally, we went upstairs and found Lisa, the Personal Shopper, who took Chloë under her wing and gave her her undivided attention. She really made Chlo feel like she was the star of the show, and I could tell my girl was feeling pretty special. Just what I wanted out of this experience. They're looking here at the case full of all the look-alike dolls ("My AG"), which is what she wanted, rather than one that came pre-storied. Like that term? I think I may have just made it up.


She didn't find exactly what she wanted in that case, so Miss Lisa took her over to a nearby case with their more popular My AG dolls. She picked one out that she thought would be up Chloë's alley, and she was right! Chloë's eyes lit up as soon as she saw her, and we knew she had found The One. This is her. Well, this is her box. Pink, of course.


Miss Lisa took Chloë and her new doll over to the styling salon, to get her ears pierced. Here, Chloë's touching her doll for the first time. She was so excited! Then they whisked her doll into the back "for the procedure." I asked, "Why, do they bleed and cry?" to Lisa, who started to say "no..." and then cracked up laughing at herself for actually answering me seriously.


Here she is, pierced, and dressed in the outfit that all My AG girls wear home. Does she look like a happy camper, or what?!


Lisa helped Chloë pick out a special AG hairbrush for her new doll, as well as a gymnastics outfit for her, after determining what Chloë, herself, likes to do and what her favorite things are. Then she took us back upstairs to her office to ring her up. Here's Curls in front of Cécile and Marie-Grace, the new New Orleans girls.


Miss Lisa wrapped her packages up all specially, gave her a cookie for a treat, and posed for a picture (which she asked me to email her later). She was really great to Chloë and gave her the Star Treatment, making her feel really important for her special day. Mom was thrilled with the whole thing, too. It really worked out well.


I'd looked ahead of time and found that there was a Godiva shop in the same mall, so before heading to the hotel, we stopped in for my free rewards member truffle. I picked the hazelnut one, as usual, while Chloë wanted this strawberry créme one. She didn't like it, but she ate it and the second one I bought in case she did, too. *snort*


We lugged all our bags o' red out to the bus waiting zone and, um, waited. For the bus. And ate our truffles. I listened to Chloë chatter on and on about her experience at American Girl. She'd had the best time, really enjoyed it.


Shortly after, on the bus, well, she crashed. Hard. At least I didn't have to listen to her ask, "Can I take her out of the box now?" 47 times a minute like she had been up 'til that point!


Once we got to the train depot again, she was wide awake and raring to go. I think this is Photo Number 830 of Chloë at a Place o' Transportation from this trip. Ah, well. I don't care, she's cute in every damn one anyway.


She was a little punchy by that point, and giggly, too. I said something to her, or made a face or something - I forget - that made her laugh...


...and laugh...


...and laaaaaugh!! She got me laughing pretty hard, too. Yep. We were having a swell time.


At long last, after a couple of train transfers and lugging our bags up Connecticut Avenue, we landed at our hotel and checked in. And then we were in the room, and finally it was time to take her new special-special out of the box. Well, hello there, darlin'!


She's ready for her close-up.


Chloë Raine holding "Faith Misty" for the first time. I didn't assist with the name at all. Well, I tried to get her to go with "Faith Hope" and "Faith, Trust, and Pixie-Dust" for silliness, but I got the, "Moooo-oooom" look for those efforts. They make a pretty pair, don't they?


Obligatory Instagram photo for Facebook instantaneousness

So that was our day! She immediately changed Faith into her gymnastics outfit, changed her earrings, and back and forth about 3700 times before bed that night. And of course, they slept together, snuggled up tight.


My kiddos have had a busy first half of the day, and will have a busy evening, so I'm letting them loose outside right now to expend some pent-up energy. I think I'll be back soon with Day Two of our trip!


Future Olympian


(Click collage to embiggerate.)

 Admittedly, these are not terrific photos of Sophia at gymnastics, but they were the best I could do under the circumstances, which are that there is very little access to do so at the gym where she and Jack go to class. Parents aren't allowed on the gym floor - at least, certainly not to take pictures - and the opening to see in is a small sliding glass door. But, I wanted to show these pictures as sort of a baseline for the progression of Sophia's gymnastics career. I'm joking about the title, but I really think she is naturally fit for the sport and will go far with it if she decides to continue developing her skills.

As for Jack, he wasn't anywhere in sight when I had the camera out! So what else is new? I'll try to get him another time. He's always a fearful little boy - on the mats and off - but for some reason, a little of that trepidation disappears when he's out there, and he becomes more adventurous. It will be interesting to see how he progresses with gymnastics, as well.


A Quick Jaunt to NoVa


On Friday, the 1st, we had to do a hotel mystery shop in Fredericksburg, and a laser tag shop an hour's drive north, around the D.C. area. So we left early in the afternoon to check in to the hotel, I did a quick survey of our (very nice) room, and we took off again for Alexandria.

Needless to say, my kids are getting to be quite excellent little car travelers. An hour's trip is nothing to them, now. "Is it going to take long?" means "Will it be five or more hours?" these days!




All of these pictures are from my iPhone, as I didn't feel like lugging around the big Nikon and then risking it getting stolen while I was playing the game. So they're kind of hazy, because it was dark in there. Sorry 'bout that. 

When we arrived around 1820, I learned that it's all-you-can-play after 2000 on Fridays, so I called up my old college friend, who now lives in D.C., to let him know. He decided to show up a little later to play. While we waited, the kids and I had some munchies, played games, rode the rides, and did all the other things that, unbeknownst to them, were part of my shop requirements. They didn't care, as they were having loads of fun!


Chlo was all excited to have won this squishy ball thingy. She is still playing with it constantly. It's like a stress-reliever ball for her. Hey, whatever works - she needs it!


Soph stealing a sip of my Diet Coke in between playing games and running around the arcade


I said, "Raise your hand if you're having fun!" and in response, they all lay down on their backs and raised everything. Goofballs, all three of 'em!


Finally, the kids made it over to the Skee Ball games - my favorite! I'm kind of good at it, but they wouldn't let me throw one, single ball. Stinkers. I coulda gotten them more prize tickets, but noooo... I'm just the Moneybags 'round here. Humph.


Finally, Clay arrived, ready to play Laser Tag. I wish this picture had turned out better, because it would have been pretty cute. Sophia really took to Clay, and I think he had a good time with all of my kiddos, too. He was one of my best buds at U.Miami, so of course I was happy to spend a few hours with him, too! (Plus, I kicked his ass at Laser Tag, big-time!!)



Is that thing a dog or a bear? We couldn't decide. This was when we were heading in for a briefing of the rules, before actually playing.

The game was so fun. We've played it before, but it was just the five of us, never a huge bunch of people like it was that night. Good times! Chloe completely deceived me. She came up to me, whimpering that she was scared (we were on opposite teams). I came closer to her to help her out, and she said, "Haha! I just wanted to get you!" and tagged me with her laser. That snot!!! I had to hand it to her though, it was a pretty good gag.


Our last game of the night, Sophia decided to sit it out because she'd developed a painful blister on her foot from all the running around. Of course, I couldn't leave her out there by herself, so I sat it out with her. Clay took the older two kids into the laser tag arena for me, and Soph snuggled with her Mama. She piled herself into my lap and played on my iPhone while I stroked her sweet (long!) hair and rubbed her warm self. She wanted to send kissy pictures to Daddy via Facebook, so we did that. She's my little look-alike! I keep meaning to get out pictures of myself as a kid and put them up next to her, to show how close we look. Or have I already done that? I swear, I have Alzheimer's.


In the briefing room of the laser tag game, Jack did what Jack is always doing these days: one of his awesome head stands. He learned how to do it at gymnastics class a month or two ago, and he's forever on his head. I mean, always, all the time, that boy is upside-down. He does a fantastic job, staying up for two or three minutes on a good one. I told him I'd give him five bucks if he could stay up there for five minutes, but he hasn't yet made it. 

So we said our good-byes to my old friend, and drove the hour back to Fredericksburg. It was nearly midnight by then, and the kids were starving. We ducked into the grocery store across from the hotel (the very awesome Wegmans, which I was shocked to find in Virginia, since I know them from growing up in New York) and got all kinds of nummies for a midnight snack, before heading back into our hotel room. 

The kids were SO wound up from all the excitement, that I thought they'd never sleep. They even outlasted me; I fell asleep around 0100, and they were still up watching TV. Finally I woke up an hour or two later and put the kibosh on the telly, and yes, it was quite fun trying to wake them up for breakfast the following morning. They barely kept their eyes open while they ate. 

And then, we checked out and went home - and the whole trip only took one tank of gas. Whee!


Friday Fragments: Smelly Returns!

Wait. "Smelly Returns" could mean a lot of things, couldn't it? Well, don't sit and think about it too long! It means I'm going to try to get back into FF after a long absence, not... those other things. Just be forewarned that I'm listening to Bob FM online through my ear buds, very loudly, so if one of my fragments suddenly turns into song lyrics, well, that's why.

Another forewarning: This is going to be long. I have a lot of stuff to unload. Feel free to, you know, NOT read it!

Friday Fragments 

Link yourselves up right here if you're fragmenting along with the awesome Mrs.4444 (who is not so awesome at Words With Friends - aka Scrabble - on the iPhone, it turns out. Heh heh heh)!

And away we go!

The past two weeks have been insanely busy for me, so I'm pretty much going to post about the goings-on then. For starters, Rob (The Hubs) was in the hospital for 8 days, starting on Tuesday last week and ending on Tuesday this week. He's all right now and stuff, but he didn't plan that visit too well for me, timing-wise. I guess I'll forgive him, but our bank account may never recover from the amount of babysitting I had to pay for during his absence!

For starters, it was crazy Girl Scout Cookie week last week. Tuesday morning, I had an hour and a half of mandatory Leader training for that (I'm my younger daughter Sophia's Daisy scout leader). In the evening, there was the monthly Leader meeting, which, uh, I missed, because... we'll get to that. Thursday afternoon was our regular scout meeting, and Friday night was the big Cookie Rally. My co-Leader and I had to keep track of all 13 of our scouts by ourselves (8 of whom are 5 or 6 years old), because no parents were allowed. (It was insane!) Saturday, the cookie sale started, but it's been too freakin' cold out for us to go around the neighborhood, so I've been spared that for the moment. Still, I'm a little Girl-Scouted out at the moment, know what'm sayin'??

And yes, I will be happy to send you six cases of Thin Mints... if you pay for the shipping. ;)

After the cookie training last Tuesday, my Cookie Chair took me to BJ's, where she has a membership. We had to bring fourteen #10 (the huge ones) cans of veggies and fruits to Friday's Cookie Rally - one for each of our girls - for donation to the Food Bank. Our local council is really pushing the Food Bank this year. Which is great and all, but those things are 'spensive! ANYway, not the point. I did get some groceries for our household while there, and I decided I'm going to get a membership on payday. The pantry has been slim pickin's around here lately. Every time the kids turned a corner and found more giant containers of delicious-looking food, they would yell, "JACKPOT!" It was funny and sad at the same time. They were really relieved (and excited)when I told them not all that food was going to the Food Bank, and some of it was coming home with us...

So after I finally got home, schlepped all the groceries up to my door and got the kids out of the van, it was with an unimaginable amount of dismay that I discovered the water shut-off notice on the front door. Yep. Went in and checked: no water. None. I literally went berserk. I had forgotten to pay the bill last cycle, yes, but as soon as Rob got the notice on the door one single day before, I sent the payment. Online. Which takes a couple days. I didn't know they only gave you one day of notice to pay before shutting it off. Gulp. I sent the kids upstairs to play in their rooms so they wouldn't hear me fall apart on the phone with the water people. I was in tears and threatening to do things that would put me back in the Psych Ward I visited in December. You just can't have three kids at home with no water. Can't cook, can't wash dishes or yourselves - can't FLUSH. And have you seen what three little kids put out? You must have The Flush. Needless to say, I got them to come turn the water back on within hours, after swearing on a virtual stack of Bibles that I had, indeed, paid that %^&*( bill.

That was definitely not the highlight of my week.

I just don't get to say "schlepped" often enough. It's a fun word.

Moving right along...

Wednesday, I saw my shrink for the second time since I got out of the Looney Bin. It was a good thing. My bipolarity has me swinging off the chandeliers one moment and contemplating slicing up my wrists the next (not kidding). It's been pretty hellish inside my brain lately. He changed one med, increased another, and refilled the third. Fingers crossed that this is the combo that works.

Jack was supposed to go to his Urologist on Thursday morning for a follow-up after his surgery on September 1st, but uh, it took me so long to get him scheduled that his referral expired. Stupid, sucky Mommy. (He had a bilateral orchiopexy.) Yet another thing lately on which I have dropped the ball. Hopefully by next week's Fragments, I'll have scheduled the appointment to get a new referral...

Thursday afternoon was, at long last, our Girl Scout Christmas party. The girls each exchanged gifts. Sophia completely and totally embarrassed me when she opened her present (from my Cookie Chair's daughter, no less), saw what it was, threw it, looked like this:

Sophia pouting 

for a few minutes, and then burst into tears. Why?? Because it was Tinkerbell/Fairy goodies, and she thought *I* had given her MORE Tinkerbell stuff. She had all Tinkerbell things in her stocking this year, and Chloë got Disney Princesses stuff, and she wanted Princesses, and here was more Tinkerbell, and ...ugh! It was mortifying. I had to take her out of the room, lecture her once again on the proper way to receive a gift, and then put her in the corner when she was STILL being bratty. And then go apologize for her behavior. I'm still embarrassed!


The Cookie Rally on Friday night went really well, and I didn't lose a single Daisy. (The chemist in me thinks of my troop of Daisies as a whole lot of excited valence electrons, if that's any explanation!) Sophia was probably griping here about not getting more cookies... See her red shirt? One of the troop parents had the bright idea to put all our girls in the same color, and we chose red. Worked like a dream.

Saturday and Sunday, the kids and I spent pretty much all day at the hospital with Daddy. Thankfully, they provided crayons and paper to keep the little ones busy. It helped. Mommy and Daddy got into the drawing and coloring for a while there, too. It was pretty therapeutic. I smuggled in some chocolate for the patient, even though no outside food was allowed. It was most appreciated. I smuggled in my new iPhone 4 for him to "ooh" and "ahh" over, too. Daddy likey.


So far this school year, I've been working a ton with Sophia on letter sounds. She kept getting them mixed up, and she found the whole process rather boring, so we didn't really graduate beyond that - until December, when things suddenly clicked for her, and she began to read! Still, I didn't go back to the Hooked on Phonics program we'd been using, because we did so much traveling last month, and because I wanted her reading skills to develop more informally in that period. We went back to HoP on Monday, and she did a beautiful job with the program, even reading her first three stories to me, unassisted. So she finally got to put her first sticker on her reading chart, which has been up on the wall since September. It was a momentous occasion, so we all did the Happy Dance! Yay, Sophie!

Monday night was dance class for Chloë and Cub Scouts for Jack, so we didn't get to visit Daddy at the hospital. That sucked, and we all missed him like crazy. I may have cried a little.

Tuesday was nuts. I had to go to the mall to get an eye exam (yes, for a mystery shop, but I really needed it). My vision has jumped another big step, for the worse. Awesome. Not that you care. After that, I stopped in at The Children's Place to check the clearance racks. Score! I got over two dozen pairs of good, quality pants for less than six bucks each - half for the girls, half for the boy - since they've all been in high-waters lately. Imagine that, my kids actually grew! Now to take the 3Ts and 5Ts to the kids' consignment shop...

In the afternoon, I still hadn't heard when Hubs was getting out of the hospital, and I was starting to panic. I had to take Jack and Sophia to gymnastics (the boy joined his sister in class last week, too, and he's über-enthusiastic about it) in the afternoon, and then spend four hours at the Girl Scout council doing my CPR certification class, and I really didn't want to get another sitter for that... plus I wanted him HOME, of course! I called the head nurse, his command, his chief (because he had to be released to the command, not his wife, argh), and finally found out they were discharging him in the next 20 minutes. Really? You couldn't keep me in the loop?? I dropped The Littles off at the gym and then raced my tush over to the Naval hospital to scoop him up, before rushing us back to the gym to pick up the little gymnasts. In rush-hour traffic, both ways. Normally, that should have taken me about 2½ hours, but I did it in an hour and 15 minutes. Go me.


Tuesday night, I spent four hours learning CPR, for the first time. I meant to do it after I had my first kid, and then the next two, and then the last one, and then... I never did. Now that I'm a scout leader, it's time. It was an adrenaline rush, for sure. I've been on the lookout for an unconscious victim ever since. Next month, I'm going to take the next step and take the course to be a Red Cross CPR instructor. I'm doing it for free through the Girl Scouts, in exchange for teaching a couple classes a year after that. I'm nervous and excited!


Wednesday night was our monthly Bunco night. I almost forgot to make my cupcakes! 1700 rolled around, and I finally got started... or at least I did, after I sent Hubs out to pick me up some eggs. Well, I wanted to make some really cute cuppies, only all the Wilton food color gels I wanted to use had dried out. So I had to use blue. I tasted some of the blue frosting... can you tell??


Then, I put the tinted frosting in the fridge so it wouldn't be soft and melty like it was in the tub, while I showered and got ready. Only, I left it in there so long, it got TOO hard, and I couldn't use the swirly tip I wanted to use. So I ended up doing these slapdash basketweave cupcakes, in blue, and getting exactly nothing like I wanted. Apparently they were good, though, and I was asked to bring cupcakes every single time.

This morning, I had my two-year check-up with my gastric bypass surgeon. Hard to believe two whole years have gone by since I weighed *gulp* 341.3 pounds. I've lost about 205 of those lbs along the way, dropping from a BMI of 62.xx to somewhere in the mid-20s (hard to tell with all the extra floppy skin I'm still lugging around). I'm happy, but I'm not finished yet. I look okay in clothes, but when I take them off, it looks like I'm 92 years old. No lie! So Plastics is in my future, and I'm okay with that. Just don't touch my face, because I'm pretty adorable. Ha!

Tonight, I went for the follow-up to my CPR class, which was the First Aid portion. I aced my test. Well, I did get one wrong on the child first aid portion, because I read the question as a CPR one instead of a choking/abdominal thrusts one, der. That'll teach me to rush to be the first one done! (That's a lifelong habit I've had, so dumb.) It was a good class, and I'm seriously glad I've had it. My only complaint - and a major one - is that there was waaaaaaay too much joking around and talking during the instruction and videos. A little laughter is fine. The entire six hours? Not so much. Not when some of us aren't taking it for the 7th time and actually want to learn this stuff! Now I need to stock a first aid kit to bring with me everywhere I go!!

Well, I could bore you to tears for another hour, and THEN share some cute-and-funnies from the kids, but I shan't. This has gotten long enough, and I know you agree. Have a fantastic weekend, and send me any extra gauze and band-aids you have in the house. ;)


P.S. Scroll down and read my Poop Story, if you missed it. I'm told it was a good story, anyway.